Tuesday, 15 March 2016

The Catholic Church Alone. The One True Church of Christ. Part 20.

REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada


Q. Which is the eleventh article?

A. The resurrection of the body.

Q. In what does this mystery consist ?

A. We believe, that at the consummation of the world, all mankind shall have their souls t and bodies re-united, in order to share equally of their eternal fate.

Q. What necessity is there for this union ? And how is it possible to resume the same bodies, which are changed into other substances, especially in case of cannibals, who eat one another, and may be supposed often to have but one body, the substance of one being become the substance of some other, by digestion, etc.

A. There is no absolute necessity, only it is God's pleasure it should be so: though there are some congruous reasons for that reunion. First, man in the state of innocence, was designed not to die; so, for the recovery of that state, the body and soul must be re-united. Secondly, as the body and soul concurred in good and bad, it is proper they should mutually partake of the effects, in a future state; besides, without that re-union, man is not a complete being, but imperfect.

Q. Why was this article inserted in the Creed ?

A. To prevent and guard against certain errors of those days. First, against the Sadducees, a sect among the Jews, who denied the resurrection and immortality of man's soul. " Secondly, against Hymeneus and Philetus, who, (as St. Paul says), 2 Tim. chap. ii. verses 17, 18, said the resurrection was then over, expounding the doctrine only of a spiritual resurrection from sin to grace.

Q. Why is the resurrection of man, called in the Creed, the resurrection of the body?

A. To show us, that (whereas man doth consist of two parts, viz.: Soul and body), it is only the body which perishes by death, the soul being immortal and consequently incapable of resurrection, for nothing is revived but that which is first dead.

Q. How do you prove the immortality of the soul ?

A. Abstracting from faith and divine revelation; I prove it. First, because the soul is a spiritual being, and consequently of a superior nature to the body, entirely distinct from it, and independent of it; and therefore it is not liable to be destroyed by that which destroys the body. Secondly, as the soul is a spirit, it has no parts, no extension, and so of its own nature it is indivisible, and incorruptible, and by consequence immortal: for death consists in a dissolution or separation of one part from another, which dissolution, can have no place in that which has no parts.

Q. How do you prove man's soul to be a spiritual substance or being?

A. Because man's soul is endowed with a vast extent of thought and knowledge ; with a memory of innumerable things, with a free will, which nothing controls; with reason and an understanding capable of contemplating the highest truths, and such as are the most abstract from matter, even the most subtle notions of metaphysics, the first principles of sciences, the laws of argumentation, and infinite series of demonstrations, etc., capable of reflecting upon herself, and her own operations, and the manner how she acts; unconfined by time or place as to her ideas, and not to be satisfied in her desires, with any thing less than the one true and sovereign Good. Now, no matter or corporeal substance alone, can be endowed with reason, understanding, and a conscious life; it being repugnant to the common ideas of all mankind, that mere matter should be conceived thinking, understanding, or reasoning: and daily experience teaches us, that this principle of life within us, which we call our soul, is endowed with a capacity of reflecting upon itself, and its own faculties, upon the very power of reflection, and the act thereof, and the manner how it reflects. Therefore, this principle of life within us, cannot be material; for it is evident that matter can only act upon that which is material, whereas the soul of man conceives and contemplates many things which are entirely abstracted from matter, and have no connection with matter, such as the ideas of universality, spirituality, infinity, eternity, truth, wisdom, etc., all which is entirely abstracted and distinct from matter. Therefore the soul of man must be a spiritual being.

Q How do you prove the general resurrection of the body?

A. From many texts of Scripture. St. Paul says, if there be no resurrection of the dead, your faith is vain: 1 Cor. xv. verses 12, 14. I know, says holy Job, that my Redeemer lives, and in the latter day, I shall rise again from the earth—and in my flesh I shall see God— I myself and not another; chapter xix. verses 25, 26, 27. As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive; 1 Cor. xv. verse 22. This corruptible body, says St. Paul, must put on incorruption, and this mortal body must put on immortality; 1 Cor. xv. verse 53. Again, St. John in the Apocalypse, speaking of the wicked at the general resurrection, says, they shall seek death and shall not find it, they shall eternally desire to die, and death shall ever fly from them. Chap. ix. ver. 6. Besides, the soul being immortal, and only one part of the whole man, it is imperfect without the other; it is not in that state for which it was created, it is therefore in a state of violence unsuitable to its nature, and it is not likely that a separation so unnatural is intended to last for ever; but seems more agreeable to human reason, to believe there is a certain time appointed by Almighty God, in which all separated souls shall resume their bodies. This argument our Saviour urged against the Sadducees, and proved the resurrection of men's bodies by the immortality of their souls. Matt. xxii.

Q. The manner of the resurrection is not very intelligible. Will the same body rise as to every part ? At what age or size ? Will the wicked arise as well as the just?

A. Mysteries of faith are not within the reach of man's understanding; however, it is easy to conceive that he who made all things out of nothing, is able to collect the scattered parts of man's body, and replace them. As to cannibals, being nourished so as to claim the same body, it is a false and whimsical conceit; they are not nourished entirely by human flesh: besides, as there is an increase, so there is a continual waste in human bodies, so that at least every one may recover his own. As to the rest that regards this mystery, the Scriptures seem to say, that everybody will be perfect, and as it were at man's estate, no blemish or deformity : the wicked as well as the just, will resume their bodies, but not with the same circumstances; the bodies of the just, will be glorified, free from the clogs we now carry about us, and embellished with many rare qualities.

Q. Can you give me any account of the excellent qualifications, the bodies of the just will be favored with upon their resurrection?

A. The Scriptures tell us, first, in general, that they will be so pure, as in a manner to be spiritualized, that is to say, free from any pain or inconveniences. Secondly, clear as light, that is transparent, every body having a clarity, proportionable to its merits. Thirdly, agility, that is to say, a capacity of moving as quick as thought, from place to place, without any impediment.